Federal Railroad Administration rules implementing a new quiet zone through Little Italy and Downtown San Diego that were supposed to go into effect Saturday have been delayed until Thursday, according to the North County Transit District.
The quiet zone essentially means conductors don’t need to sound their horns as they approach crossings because additional safety improvements have been made.
For San Diego, that meant a $20.6 million project to improve safety features and for locals who were anxious to sleep through the night without being awakened by a horn blast.
“Everyone was looking forward to it, and of course it didn’t happen,” said downtown resident David Jared.
Residents living along the tracks near the 13 crossings between Laurel Street and Park Blvd where the quiet zone is scheduled to take effect said not much has changed. Many posted videos to a community Facebook page as evidence of the loud horns and at least 50 sent in complaints to the city quiet zone project manager.
"I thought there was an agreement, I thought this was going to happen and now we're waiting,” said Little Italy resident Kathryn Talley.
The North County Transit District, which controls and dispatches rail traffic through San Diego, said they were late in notifying the operators of their Coaster Trains about the Saturday start and therefore the new Quiet Zone will begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 29.
There are a few exceptions, as conductors are still required to sound the horns at crossings as a warning if they perceive someone or something is in danger of getting hit. If a conductor is cited for unnecessarily sounding their horn they could get hit with a fine which starts at $550 per occurrence.